Class of 2016: Goodbye High School, Hello College!

Yesterday, August 6th 2016, I graduated from James Madison High School... I know, I'm surprised too (: In all seriousness, I am so incredibly proud of myself for where I am right now in my life. I technically finished my education in May, but didn't walk/toss the cap till now. I am 17 and should be graduating next year, but because of hard work, perseverance and focus, I graduated a year early! I moved to Nashville with every intention to continue my "public school" education, but because my music was picking up rather quickly, my parents and I ultimately made the decision to move over to online school. That decision changed my life forever. Here's my story...

For years I had always struggled in school to some degree. Whether it was personally with my other classmates, or educationally struggling in areas where I wasn't as strong. With that said, school had always been a personal burden for me mentally. I didn't think people liked me, nor did I feel I was academically up to par. For the record, none of these things I still believe today - There was a time in my life where I just was not confident in my overall being... I still struggle with this, but I am way better now! That's why when I moved to Nashville, I knew something had to give. I went to public school while pursuing a music career full time... This my friends, was not an easy task. I found myself emotionally sinking in the piles of work I was coming home with, meanwhile having the rest of my day packed full of music related activities, thus prohibiting me from actually doing the work. Obviously, I was not succeeding with my education and felt quite overwhelmed with my music. All of these situations factored in to me and my family eventually making the choice to enroll me in online school. That's when we found James Madison (: 

I discovered James Madison through a friend of mine named Molly Svrcina. I remember our families getting together and chatting about how her education was going exquisitely well, meanwhile she was pursuing music too! Obviously, I wanted so badly to be able to have the same opportunities, while also finishing my education. Continuing our own personal research, we really felt that James Madison was the perfect fit for me. This is why I get to start college a year early - Due to the fact I was able to go at my own pace, I didn't have to sit in a classroom for an unnecessary amount of time, and the teachers helped me throughout every question I had, I was able to not just pass, but  EXCEL.

The ceremony took place in Atlanta, Georgia. This is where their office is based out of, so it was held at the Cob Energy Theatre downtown. They asked me to speak and sing after finding out I was a musician. I was more then anxious to actually proceed with performing, but my friend Molly had done it the previous year, which gave me a little boost of encouragement to just say "yes". I did, and I am SO thankful for that opportunity... From the moment we pulled into Atlanta, they treated us like royalty. We had two suites at the Renaissance Hotel, a complimentary driver that took us where we wanted, free of charge and all our meals covered. I was simply shocked at how kind and considerate these people made my family and I feel. There are no words or an adequate gift I could give you all in return, but just a simple thank you. 

Before I move on, I just wanna say thank you to my incredible family for always being my main supporters. They have been there for me when I was losing my sanity from juggling music and school, and they have been there for me when I was simply exuberant walking across the stage while holding my diploma. They have sacrificed so much, to watch me fly. I can only hope I am as good to my family, as the way you are to yours. I love you guys. I wanna thank my best friend who came with me this weekend - Erica, You have been so consistent in my life, and have always understood how my heart works, which to some is an impossible task Lol. I can't believe you actually think I'm cool, because you've seen me at my ugliest, both literally and figuratively. Thank you for being you. Melissa Maddox, If you're reading this right now, Thank you for allowing me to have one of the most memorable weekends of my life, God bless you lovely lady! And last, but certainly not least, Thank You James Madison for teaching me how to be responsible and how to elevate my self through education. Alright, the sappiness is complete, MOVING ON! 

Soooooo..... Where does this leave me now? I'm not sure. What I do know, is I'm starting college in a couple weeks and I'm FREAKING OUT. I have no idea how this will affect my music, and If I were to be completely honest with you all, I'm a little scared. One thing's for sure though, God has had my back this entire way, so I don't think He will be taking a hiatus now. I know our past, present and future is already written, but sometimes I do wonder what my future holds and how God plans on using me, ya know? I read this verse the other day in Psalm and truly felt that it applied to me right now in my life. I'll leave this with you.. 

Psalm 139

"God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight. You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too—your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful—I can’t take it all in! Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit? to be out of your sight? If I climb to the sky, you’re there! If I go underground, you’re there! If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western horizon, You’d find me in a minute—you’re already there waiting!Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark! At night I’m immersed in the light!” It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you; night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you. Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you,The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day. Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful! God, I’ll never comprehend them! I couldn’t even begin to count them—any more than I could count the sand of the sea. Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you! And please, God, do away with wickedness for good! And you murderers—out of here!— all the men and women who belittle you, God, infatuated with cheap god-imitations. See how I hate those who hate you, God, see how I loathe all this godless arrogance; I hate it with pure, unadulterated hatred. Your enemies are my enemies! Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong— then guide me on the road to eternal life."
LifeCassie Dulworth